Citing Salaita Case, U. of Illinois Department Votes No Confidence in Chancellor

Faculty in the American Indian studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign today cast a vote of no confidence in the university’s chancellor, Phyllis M. Wise.

The vote came weeks after campus administrators, including Ms. Wise, revoked a job offer to a professor accused of incivility in his criticisms of Israel. Steven G. Salaita, a former professor of English at Virginia Tech, had been offered a job as a tenured professor of American Indian studies, but his appointment w…


Cable Giant Comcast Unveils Streaming-TV Service for Colleges

The cable giant Comcast this week introduced a new streaming-TV service for college campuses that college officials hope will also reduce bandwidth costs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The service is included with room-and-board charges for students living in on-campus housing. It allows students to stream live and on-demand programming to devices like laptops, tablets, and phones.

The company said the service would be available this fall at Bridgewater, Emerson, and Lasell Colleges, Drexel University, and the University of Delaware. Other colleges, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, will offer the program to students on a trial basis.

For schools struggling with rising bandwidth needs from students streaming video services like Netflix and YouTube, Comcast is pitching that its service has an added attraction. The service travels over Comcast’s “managed” network in Internet protocol format—similar to cable video-on-demand or phone services.

The traffic from those IP-based services travels on a special portion of Comcast’s cable pipe that is separate from the more congested portion reserved for public Internet access.

As a result, the service, due to its managed nature, would be unlikely to experience the sputters and stops that can affect Web video streaming over the public Internet.

More importantly colleges, which pay telecom providers for Internet bandwidth, would get a break on those costs because streaming the Comcast service won’t count toward a college’s Internet bandwidth capacity, a Comcast spokesman confirmed.

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U. of Illinois Chancellor Speaks Out on Denial of Job to Israel Critic

The chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign broke her silence on Friday about the university’s decision to withdraw a job offer to a scholar accused of being uncivil in his harsh criticisms of Israel, The News-Gazette reported.

The university had offered the scholar, Steven G. Salaita, a tenured professorship in American Indian studies, with the offer subject to approval by the university’s Board of Trustees. But the university said later that it would not forward his appoin…


Calif. Legislature Approves Bill Allowing 2-Year Colleges to Offer 4-Year Degrees

The California Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that would allow some community colleges to offer four-year degrees.

Brice W. Harris, chancellor of the community-college system, applauded the bill’s passage, saying many fields now require employees to have “higher skill sets than are offered through associate-degree programs.” The bill will allow community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees in areas not currently served by the state’s two university systems, he said in a news release.

The idea has drawn criticism, however, from some who fear it would drastically alter the colleges’ missions.

The measure, SB 850, would authorize a pilot program allowing 15 community-college districts to offer one bachelor’s-degree program each. The program would start in January 2015 and end in July 2023. The bill now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown. If he signs it into law, California will join 21 other states that have given community colleges the authority to grant four-year degrees.

Lawmakers said many students cannot afford or get into state universities. “This is a viable way to help these young people,” said Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido).

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Southern U. to Discuss Contract of President Who Seeks Big Changes

Ronald F. Mason Jr. is seeking big changes at the Southern University system, and whether he gets to see them through could be decided this weekend when the Board of Supervisors meets to discuss extending his contract beyond next June.

Mr. Mason, who has come under fire from faculty members and at least one member of the board, has told the board he will not stay on as president after his current contract ends unless it agrees to terms he outlined in a letter this June, according to reports by two Louisiana newspapers, The Times-Picayune and The Advocate.

Those terms include moving forward with a reorganization plan he has been pushing that would combine the administrations of the system and its flagship campus, in Baton Rouge. The plan, which Mr. Mason says would be developed with “with broad input,” also calls for slashing staffs and creating shared services throughout the system, and for reviewing the academic program systemwide.

The president’s proposals are unlikely to win much support in Baton Rouge, where the Faculty Senate has called for Mr. Mason’s ouster and voted no confidence in his leadership this summer.

On Thursday, a member of the board also called on Mr. Mason to resign. In an email to other board members, the Rev. Samuel C. Tolbert Jr. said Mr. Mason had botched a proposed contract for the Baton Rouge campus’s former chancellor, James L. Llorens. The board declined to extend Mr. Llorens’s contract in February, and his last day leading the campus was in June.

Mr. Tolbert told The Advocate, that he wasn’t speaking for the rest of the 16-member board and said he was eager to see what happened at the board’s meeting on Saturday. “I just believe Southern needs new leadership,” he said.

The Southern University Baton Rouge Faculty Senate passed a resolution Thursday, urging the board to not renew Mason’s contract and terminate him as soon as possible. The Faculty Senate has characterized Mason as having contempt for faculty, being a divisiveness figure, overreaching his authority on the Baton Rouge campus and fiscal management.

Mason has disputed those claims publicly, and has invited committee members from the Faculty Senate to participate in a public forum. They have declined.

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U. of Colorado Backs Away From Renaming Dorms Using Arapaho Spellings

The University of Colorado has backed away from a proposal to rename two of the dormitories on the Boulder campus using traditional spellings of the Arapaho Tribe, The Daily Camera reported.

A campus planning group had approved a plan to rename two dorms—which are known as Kittredge West and Kittredge Central—Nowoo3 Hall and Houusoo Hall, respectively. Those names are taken from Arapaho words for two tribal leaders.

But a proposal that will go before the university’s Board of Regents seeks to …


Temple U. Investigates Alleged Anti-Semitic Attack on Student

Temple University is investigating an alleged anti-Semitic attack on a student that took place at a campus welcome event, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The university said in a written statement that the attack allegedly included “physical violence and anti-Semitic statements and religious slurs.”

Temple said it “unequivocally condemns the disparagement or assault of any person based on religion or nationality.”

The incident was said to have stemmed from an argument between a student and m…


Boston-Area Colleges Must Disclose Students’ Off-Campus Addresses

The Boston City Council voted on Wednesday to require colleges in the city to provide a list of off-campus addresses where students reside, The Boston Globe reported.

The vote came three months after the newspaper published an investigation into the city’s off-campus housing market that found widespread safety hazards. College leaders later largely agreed to disclose the addresses after a meeting with Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

Wednesday’s vote codified that arrangement by amending the city’s univ…


After Years of Going Up and Up, Graduate-School Offers to Chinese Students Flatten

Report: “Findings from the 2014 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admission”

Author: Jeff Allum, director of research and policy analysis, Council of Graduate Schools

Organization: Council of Graduate Schools

Summary: After nearly a decade of double-digit increases, American graduate schools probably will not have a record number of students from China in this fall’s incoming class. Graduate programs reported no rise in offers of admi…


Colorado Professor Who’s Fighting Dismissal Won’t Be Teaching This Fall

David Barnett, the tenured professor of philosophy who is the subject of dismissal proceedings at the University of Colorado at Boulder amid allegations that he retaliated against a female graduate student who had accused a peer of sexual assault, is being given time off from teaching this fall, The Daily Camera reports.

Brian Moore, a lawyer for the professor, told the newspaper that Mr. Barnett had requested relief from teaching duties “until he is given a hearing on the allegations against hi…